Billeder på siden

to implant a principle of self-love, which though innocent in its na. ture, may prove inordinate and pernicious, unless it be under the controul of higher principles, with which our natures are likewise en. dowed: to infict sufferings, but to give them a salutary tendency, so that they may be productive of greater good than could have been promoted without them. He will admit that such a plan may not correspond with our wishes; and that our impatience to enjoy happiness, will induce us to imagine that it is not the best possible: but you will surely admit, Sir, that it is infinitely more consonant with our ideas of a wise and perfect Governor, than plunging a whole race into endless misery at once, without crimes of their own, without means of reforming their native depravity, or hopes of escape !

One singular advantage attends the above hypothesis : it is not pecessary that it should be true, in order to invalidate yours. If there be no proofs that it is contrary to Scripture, that it is irrational, or that it is peculiarly derogatory to the divine perfections, it has in finitely the advantage. It may be false, and yet confute your bold assertion that there is no other way of explaining the phænomena of human depravity, than the one you have adopted : it may be false, and yet afford a more pertinent and more honourable solution of the difficulty, until the discovery of a better shall produce still greater satisfaction to the impatient mind.

• If the adoption of this should commit too great a violence upon prejudices and habits that have been long formed, there is another hypothesis which approaches nearer to your own, and ought to have a decided preference: and that is the antient doctrine of Manes, from which yours is manifestly derived, and of which it may be justly deemed a corruption. The Manechean system completely exculpates Deity from being the author of evil

, and the intentional cause of misery. The Creator is deprived by it of no other attribute than that of inhnite power, which is no impeachment of his moral character. Since his designs and plans may yet be just, wise, and good, the grand respectability of character still remains, and the incessant exer. tions of his power, to the destruction of misery which he did not vo. luntarily permit, still demand the universal tribute of love and gratitude. Their doctrine further administers this consolation : it admits. that the good Being will finally become triumphant over the malignant Spirit; and that order, virtue, happiness, shall, at some future period, be diffused through the universe. Who, Sir, that has it in his choice, would not prefer reposing his mind upon an error which pro, huises such a desirable issue, rather than suffer it to be tossed, like the fallen angels in Milton, upon the waves and surges of eternal misery, to which your system incessantly directs our thoughts.'-

• Having thus reasoned with you to the utmost extent of the subject, we might justly extol our courtesy in condescending to argue with persons whose hypothesis deprives them of thie right. For what evidence can those produce, that they are qualified to arque upon the subject, whose leading principle it is that the fall of Adam has impaired our intellects, and blinded our judgements, to such a degree, that we are not able in any one instance, to think or to act aright? How can they who maintain the depravity of human reason convince

us that every thing they urge in defence of their system does not pro.
ceed from that very perversion of intellect which they confess to have
seized the whole human race??

At the conclusion of this pamphlet, the writer says:

• It is well known that many of our public teachers laugh in their sleeves, and some of these sleeves, they say, are of lawn,--at those doctrines which they inculcate from the pulpit with a pretended earpeatness.',

On a subject of such importance, we cannot approve of sarcastic insinuations and unsupported accusations. It is to be hoped that such hypocrisy does not prevail : but, if it does, it is earnestly to be desired that it should be exposed and repro. bated. “Qyt of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh ;” but the mouth should not speak when the hearç doch not abound.

[ocr errors]


Art. XI. Dr. Hunter's Translation of Sonnini's Travels in Egypt,

[Art. concluded from p. 128.]
HE third volume of this work contains an account of the

author's journey into Upper Egypt; or that part which
lies south of Cairo. It was his original intention to penetrate
into Abyssinia ; and to emulate the successful attempt of our
countryman Bruce to explore that immense tract, which yet
remains the most unknown of the habitable globe. The delays
and difficulties which threatened the design of passing to
Abyssinia by the route of Suez, the Red Sea, and Ethiopia,
determined M. Sonnini to prefer the way of Upper Egypt ;
though the contest betweet Ismael Bey and Mourat, not being
yet finally extinguished in the remote parts of the country, left
even this road exposed to many dangers. Being arrived at
Sicut, an opportunity of reaching Abyssinia occurred, of which
he endeavoured to profit. A caravan of negroes, was about to
depart for Sennaar the capital of Nubia, whence it would have
been easy to reach Abyssinia. In this caravan, therefore, he
designed to travel ; and his dispositions for the journey had
been made, when the discovery of a plot to rob and massacre
him and his party compelled him, for that time, to renounce
his resolution. A subsequent attempt to reach the coasts of
the Red Sea was equally unsuccessful, and from the same
cause, viz. the treachery of those with whom he was to travel;
whic was fortunately discovered in sufficient time to prevent
its execution. These repeated miscarriages obliged him finally
to abandon the idea of penetrating beyond the limits of Upper
Egypt; and in fact he went no higher than Luxor, the seat of


X 4

antient Thebes; once the magnificent capital of Egypt, and situated, according to D'Anville's map, in 26°. 30' north latitude. This peregrination the author completed in somewhat more than five months, having left Boulac (the port of Cairo) on the 21st of March 1778, and arrived there in returning on the 4th of September following. We shall not accompany him regularly from village to village, in his long and weary course through this inhospitable and barbarous country; because, in fact, the detail of his journey offers much less amusement and interest than perhaps the majority of readers would expect. Compelled by the dread of those numerous hordes of robbers who infest, or rather indeed who inhabit, this long extended and narrow tract of country, to confine himself to his boat; or at best to make but short and infrequent excursions from the Nile, to view the interesting remains of antiquity which lie scattered near its banks ; M. Sonnini's recital is necessarily in many parts mere dry enumeration ; a detail of petty dangers from which he escaped by his courage or his prudence; or of ordinary incidents, which must have occurred in a journey through any country. This is not so much the fault' of the author, whose manner of writing, when his subject admits, is calculated to interest and embellish, as it is owing to circumstances which were inseparable from his situation, and to the paucity of the materials which those circumstances permitted him to collect, Though, however, this volume does not present such a quantity of instructive and amusing matter, as an inconsiderate reader might expect from a journey of such length and such hazard, in a country so little known as Egypt is, and so interesting as it is thought to be, yet much certainly occurs which cannot fail to gratify curiosity.

In this tour, M. Sonnini assumed and travelled in the character of a physician ; which, though it exposed him to many inconveniences, and to some danger, yet procured for him seyeral opportunities of knowlege which he would not otherwise have enjoyed. Phat inconvenience and danger must have been connected with the practice of physic in Egypt, the reader will believe, when he learns that the physician is there obliged to prescribe without any other knowlege of the patient's disease than what he can collect from the pulse, unconnected with any information of symptoms, or of the stage of the disorder; that to interrogate the patient would be deemed a convincing proof of the ignorance of the physician ; and that to prescribe remedies which must be introduced otherwise than through the mouth would be considered as an insult to the patient, which would be punished by the bastinado, or perhaps by death : in a word, that to prescribe without effecting a cure would be

[ocr errors]

in many cases a miscarriage fatal to the prescriber. To M. Sonnini, however, the assumption of this character produced many advantages. When successful in his practice, as in many instances he was, it obtained for him the protection and favour of those to whom he had rendered benefit; and in general it procured him a knowlege of the diseases which prevail in the country, and of the mode by which the natives attempt their cure.

Among the disorders of which he here gives an account, the most disgusting and horrible is a species of leprosy ; which our countryman Hillary, in his tract on the epidemical diseases of Barbadoes, terms the Leprosy of the Joints. The patient who solicited the aid of M. Sonnini had lost, by this disease, the greater part of the joints of his fingers and toes, which had successively dropt off. It is called by the Arabs madsjourdam, and commences by a swelling and redness of the fingers and the ears.-The leprosy here is not considered as either loathsome or contagious. The leper of whom the author speaks continued to eat with his family, and, according to their custom, to dip his fingers, already dropping off with the disease, into the dish of which they all ate. Though not less than sixty years of age, he enjoyed a good appetite, slept well, and seemed to feel no inconvenience from the disorder, except an itching in the articulation of his fingers and toes. None of his family had caught the disease; and his wife continued to sleep with him as usual,

Of the monks established in several places in Upper Egypt, the author gives an account not much more favourable than his description of those at Zaidi el Baramous. Devoted to a life of sloth, ignorance, and superstitious fraud, they solicitously shun all commerce with Europeans, who are likely to observe and expose them. To these men, the traveller's letters of recommendation were generally useless ; and it was to the Arabs, or to the Mameluks, that he owed all the hospitality and kindness which he found in Upper Egypt. One honourable exception, indeed, occurred in a Catholic curate, an Egyptian who had studied at Rome; who bestowed on M. Sonnini all the attentions and services which were within the limits of his scanty means. The great body of the Cophts in this country are of the Greek Church ; and, ignorant' as their Monks are, the laymen comprize within themselves all the literature of Upper Egypt. Most of them can read and write; and, in consequence of these rare acquisitions, they become the intendants, registers, and secretaries, of the men of wealth:situations of which they do not fail fully to avail themselves. Their manner of taking their repasts differs in nothing from that of the Turks and Arabs; of which M. Sonnini gives the following description:


• They are seated, with their legs crossed, around a table with one foot, in form of a large circular tea-board, on which dishes are placed, without either table-cloth, plates, knives or forks. They inake, with the right hand, the circle of the dishes, from whence they take successively, and according to their taste, little morsels with their fingers. The left hand, destined for ablutions, is unclean, and must not touch provisions. They sometimes transfer what they have taken from one dish to another, to form a mixture of it; of this they make a large ball, which they convey to a widely extended mouth. The poultry and the boiled meats are divided into pieces, and torn with the hands and nails. The roast meats are served up in little pieces, cut before they are put to the spit, and no where can you eat better roasted meat than in the countries of Turkey. The table does not afford an opportunity for conversation. They only seat themselves to eat very rapidly; they make quick dispatch, and swallow with precipitation. They are not men whom the pleasure of society assembles together; they are brutes whom want and voraciousness collect around their pasture. The grease distils from each side of their mouths. The stomach sends forth frequent fumes, which they lengthen out and render as noisy as they can. He whose hunger is soonest appeased riscs from table first. It is not regarded as a want of politeness to remain alone at the board, if your appetite is not per, fectly satished.'

Intoxicating liquors are forbidden to the disciples of Mo, hammed: but, in Upper Egypt, the Arabs and Egyptians substitute for those liquors several preparations, by which they obtain, instead of violent intoxication, a kind of pleasant reverie which inspires gaiety, and occupies the imagination with an agreeable delusion. This kind of annihilation of the thinking faculty, according to M, Sonnini, has no resemblance to the drunkenness occasioned by our wines and strong liquors, but is a feeling for which no European language has a name. By the Arabs, this delicious stupor is called Keif.

Courtezans abound in Egypt: but, instead of those disintè. rested, beauteous, and seducing beings whom some former travellers have taught us to expect in this country of love, they åre represented by the present writer as the most loathsome, impure, impudent, and avaricious of women :-creatures, in a word, in comparison with whom the lowest order of the same class in Europe would by an European be regarded as divinities.

We have already observed that M. Sonnini is minute and attentive to the animal productions of this country, and we find much of the third volume occupied by topics of this kind, some of which are interesting even to readers who are not naturalists. Of its insects, he says:

• The

« ForrigeFortsæt »